Six exceptional American Quarter Horses have been recognized by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association(PRCA) and the American Quarter Horse Association(AQHA) for outstanding performances throughout the 2015 season with the 2015 AQHA-PRCA Horse of the Year awards.
The honors are awarded to champions in one of six categories, also recognizing a second and third place in each category, including five first-time winners and a lone repeat champion: 2014 and 2015 Team Roping Heeling Horse of the Year Rey Shines On Top (aka “Rey”), owned by Brady Minor.
Aboard Rey, Minor qualified for his seventh Wrangler National Finals Rodeo(WNFR) this year, ending the final week of the regular season with a ranking of 14th in the world standings.
“This horse has been 90 percent of my success the past three seasons,” Minor said. “Great horses are hard to come by these days, and you can’t really just go out and buy one. I rodeoed on him at 70 of the 75 rodeos I went to this season, and he makes my job a lot easier.”
The award for the top Team Roping Heading Horse went to Dew the Dash (“Dew”) and owner Clay Tryan; Though he is 16 years old, it is Dew’s first time winning the top honor in his event.
“You can’t be dominant in this sport – and be in the lead a lot – without riding one of the best horses around, and I think Dew is one of the best horses there has ever been,” Tryan said. “I’m glad he won it now, because he was getting to the age where I didn’t think he’d ever win it. He’s been good since the first day I cracked him out six years ago.”
Steer Roping Horse of the Year, Weavers Diamond Bar (“Rowdy”), owned by Troy Tillard, was another to pick up his first win in 2015. The top Barrel Racer was French First Watch (“Custer”), the palomino gelding owned by Jill Welsh, two-time cancer survivor and 2015 Reno Rodeo Champion.
Top honors in Steer Wrestling went to KR Montana Shake Em (“Shakem”) and owner Ty Erickson, who heads into the WNFR third in the world. The Tie-Down Roping Winner, Sweet As Time (“Flea”), carried Marcos Costa to his first WNFR qualification this season.
For full results of each event please see the announcement from AQHA